Russia Arrests Terminally Ill Laser Scientist

Dmitry Kolker died 2 days after he was taken to Moscow prison
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2022 3:25 PM CDT
Russian Scientist Dies 2 Days After Treason Arrest
Barbed wire is seen over a fence of the Lefortovo prison in Moscow,.   (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

A Russian physicist undergoing treatment for terminal cancer was taken from his hospital bed in what relatives say was a "ridiculous arrest" for treason and espionage. Dmitry Kolker, a quantum and laser specialist, died two days after officers from the FSB security service took him from a hospital in Siberia, where he was being fed through a tube, and put him on a four-hour flight to Moscow, where he was held in the Lefortovo prison. Relatives say the 54-year-old, who had pancreatic cancer, was accused of leaking state secrets during lectures to Chinese students, though the content of his lectures was approved by authorities and an FSB agent was with him when he spoke, the BBC reports.

Anton Dianov, a cousin who lived in the US, tells Reuters that the treason charge was absurd. "He was a scientist, he loved his country, he was working in his country despite many invitations from leading universities and labs to go work abroad," he says. "These charges are absolutely ridiculous and extremely cruel and unusual to be levied on such a sick man. They knew that he was on his deathbed and they chose to arrest him." He says his cousin was also an accomplished concert pianist and organist, and "somebody who was producing such beautiful things could not have done what they accuse him of."

Kolker's son Maxim accused the FSB and the "state machine" of killing his father, who died after being taken from the prison to a Moscow hospital, CBS reports. He said authorities became suspicious after Kolker went to an international conference in China, where he was accompanied at all times by an FSB agent. (More Russia stories.)

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